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Buddhadharma : Spri 2007
spring 2007| 8 |buddhadharma John Killacky replies: I wrote from my memory, which was clearly flawed. I appreciate the clarifica- tions by Judith Hoyem and Georgette Siegel and apologize for any and all mis- statements on my part. We were all deeply privileged to be touched by such an extra- ordinary teacher as the Roshi. I was appalled at reading David Berman’s short essay, “Do Chimps Have Buddha- nature?” [First Thoughts, Winter 2006]. Of course, chimps have buddhanature – s o do Zhao Zhou’s dogs and David Berman’s tubeworms. He seems to have a total misunderstanding of Master Zhao Zhou’s koan. Chan masters never answer questions directly, for doing so would fall into the questioner’s world of duality. Zhao Zhou answered “Wu” to the question, Do dogs have buddhanature? Wu means no in Chinese, but it also means emptiness. Zhao Zhou apparently tried to shock the questioner into deep thinking and, therefore, figuring out the answer for himself. Anything that feels pain (and thus by definition seeks happiness) has buddhanature, meaning that the ability to become enlightened or attain eternal happiness is there, even though it may take aeons and the transformation into a human body. This was what the Buddha exclaimed upon reaching enlightenment. And this is the basis of the Buddha’s teach- ing of compassion for all sentient beings, including chimps, ghosts, and so on. Sentient beings do not “evolve” from beginninglessness to bogs and then to human beings, as David Bergman seems to suggest. Kelvin Chen Hacienda Heights, California It seems that your article in the Fall 2006 issue titled “A Well Grounded Air Force” has some Buddhists perplexed and outraged that a Buddhist could be in the military. I myself have been in the U.S. Air Force for over eighteen years and have been a Buddhist for more than three of those years. I am not a perfect Buddhist by any means, but that does not take away from the fact that I try in each moment of my life to apply the four noble truths. I feel joy for the times I can apply the truths and saddened when it is not possible. War is an ugly side of military life, and no one I have ever met has been waiting California Institute of Integral Studies MA and PhD in Asian and Comparative Studies The study of spiritual discovery, Eastern religions, and sacred texts. For More Information 415.575.6154 • firstname.lastname@example.org 1453 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103